THE World Bank has pledged US$30 million to fund the single largest agricultural initiative in Papua New Guinea, which will seek to improve the livelihoods of up to 60,000 coffee and cocoa farmers.
The Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project (PPAP) aims to work with smallholder farmers to double yield and improve the quality of their coffee and cocoa, and increase their incomes.
PNG’s coffee and cocoa production have both declined over the past decade as a result of a range of factors, including: a lack of extension services in many areas; inadequate replanting, with many trees over 40 years old.
Through the project, partnerships between farmers and NGOs, farmer group cooperatives or local businesses are selected and established under a competitive process. Partnerships provide farmers with planting materials, extension services, access to certification schemes that bring higher prices, and other services.
This year, PPAP will also start rehabilitating and improving maintenance of up to 200 kilometres of rural roads to improve farmers’ access to markets in selected areas.
PPAP was originally launched in 2010. With the additional financing, it will aim to double the current number of partnerships from 25 to 50; increase services to participating farmers, including nutrition and literacy training, and increase its support to women farmers.
The project is also providing institutional support to the Cocoa Board and Coffee Industry Corporation to improve coordination of the industries and the sustainability of the project.
More than 85% of the country’s population lives in rural areas and most depend on small-scale agriculture for their food and livelihoods. Coffee and cocoa are two major cash crops, which provide critical income for more than half a million households.